2018 Annual Membership Meeting Recap

Annual Membership Meeting & Elections Goes Virtual

On Nov. 8, 2017, PRSA Oregon hosted its first annual membership meeting and election results via webinar to celebrate this founding year’s efforts and next year’s elected leaders with 22 members joining online (of 32 registered attendees).
The 2018 board of directors slate was announced on Oct. 24 and voting was open through Nov. 7 via electronic ballot, 16 days in advance of the annual meeting in accordance with chapter bylaws, during which 48 members voted.
New Board Elected Unanimously
Twenty-two of the 32 registered members for this event cast their vote, forming a majority of annual meeting registrants. All nominations passed unanimously (Note: abstaining was not available on a role-by-role basis).  The election results are announced here.
The electronic voting and virtual meeting was a different format than chapter’s have done in the past and was very well received by the 22 members (+ seven of us in “green room”) who tuned in and engaged via chat throughout the webinar.
Attendee comments include:

Eric Jones: This e-meeting is great! Highlight of the year so far

Sherryll Hoar: Good way to hold a statewide meeting. Thanks.

Andrew Thompson: Great Kimmel reference, Colby.

Kathy Hubbell, APR, Fellow PRSA: This is a great way to hold a meeting!

Andrew Thompson: I’m excited to be a part of this organization. Thanks to the 2017 board for your leadership. Excited for 2018!

Elisa Williams: Great job you guys on this meeting.

During the webinar, presenters from the board reported on the following in addition to recap posts shared on our blog as linked:
  • Welcome & Overview – 2017 President Colby Reade, APR
  • Business Meeting
    • Assembly Report – Assembly Delegate Dianne Danowski-Smith, APR, Fellow PRSA
    • Treasurer’s Report – Treasurer Dave Thompson, APR
    • Membership Report – Membership Director Siobhan Taylor
  • 2017 Transition Accomplishments – 2017 President-Elect Julie Williams, APR, MA
  • Election Results – 2017 President-Elect Julie Williams & Service Director Taylor Long
  • Looking Ahead to 2018 – 2018 President Brian Terrett
  • Q & A – 2017 President Colby Reade, APR
It is not possible to recap in 60 minutes the 3,500+ hours of volunteer efforts contributed this year. Overall, these collective efforts were well represented even as time constraints limited presenter’s from appreciating every person’s and teams’ contributions.
To learn more about reports, accomplishments and plans, review the PowerPoint presentation (Note: large file due to imagery), listen to the the webinar and/or watch the webinar (skip ahead to beginning at 00:26:30) .
Upcoming Service Celebration
We can look forward to celebrating with all volunteers on Dec. 12, 5:30-7 pm, when we gather in the back room of Rogue Brewery & Distillery in NW Portland. Event details will be sent directly to volunteers and up on the website very soon.

PRSA Oregon Celebrates Banner Year

New 300-Member Chapter Marks Completion of Historic Merger, Hosts Two Signature Events to Close out 2017

Portland, Ore. – The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is in the midst of a major celebration as it caps off a banner year in the state of Oregon. The nonprofit professional organization dedicated to the growth and advancement of the practice of public relations opted to merge Oregon’s three chapters – Portland, Oregon Capitol and Greater Oregon – into a unified, statewide chapter.

“By merging our chapters from three regional groups into one, statewide organization, it becomes much easier for us to connect and network,” said Colby Reade, APR, PRSA Oregon President. “It also opens up vast opportunities for our organization to offer a much wider range of professional development and skill-building resources to our members.”

The merger is the result of several years of deliberation and collaboration by members from all three chapters. The decision appears to be a success as the organization is enjoying a substantial membership increase year-over-year.

Spotlight Awards Announced

Along with the merger of all of the chapters around the state, PRSA Oregon announced the 2017 recipients of the prestigious Awards of Distinction at this year’s Spotlight Awards Ceremony, held on October 20th at the Willamette Valley Country Club. They include:

Professional Award of Excellence

Nicole Early was selected as the 2017 New Professional Award of Excellence which is presented to a “rising star” who has entered the field of public relations in the past 5 years. The award is presented to a professional who has demonstrated his or her commitment to advancing public relations through career achievements, volunteerism, and the highest standards of professionalism.

North Pacific District PR Practitioner of the year, Paul M. Lund Award for Public Service, Ron Schmidt Community Involvement Award

Dianne Danowski Smith, APR, Fellow, had a very active fall as she was honored with the PRSA North Pacific District’s 2017 PR Practitioner of the Year, and the national Paul M. Lund Award for Public Service along with the PRSA Oregon Ron Schmidt Community Involvement Award.

The Lund Public Service Award honors a PRSA member whose participation as a volunteer in important public activities has increased the common good and reflected credit on the society. The Ron Schmidt Community Involvement award is given to a public relations practitioner who has performed exceptional service to the community, to achieve results that help the greater good.

Olga M. Haley Mentorship Award

Taraneh A. Fultz APR, a current senior field analyst at Cambia Health Solutions, was announced as the winner of the Olga M. Haley Mentorship Award, an award given to a PRSA Oregon Chapter member who demonstrates exceptional mentorship of others as they advance their careers in public relations.

 William W. Match Lifetime Achievement Award

John Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA, has been awarded the William W. Marsh Lifetime Achievement Award for 2017. Mitchell, a professor in the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications, was given this award because he has invested significantly in developing public relations as a credible profession, accomplishing landmark professional achievements and furthering the goals of PRSA.

For additional details on the event and winner bios, please visit prsaoregon.org.

Communicator’s Conference

Another key highlight of the year was May’s Communicator’s Conference in Portland, Oregon. Drawing hundreds of attendees from around the Pacific Northwest, a variety of speakers, including the University of Oregon, ODOT, Portland Public Schools and REI the conference offered insights on a variety of topics centered on the theme of “Leading Strategies”.

Founding Board Members of PRSA Oregon:

President: Colby Reade, APR

President-Elect: Julie Williams, APR

Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer: Dave Thompson, APR

Secretary and Chief Operations Officer: Tracey Lam, APR

Leadership Assembly Delegate: Dianne Danowski Smith, APR, Fellow PRSA

Leadership Assembly Delegate: John Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA

Communications Director: Beverly Brooks

Director of Student Affairs: Megan Donaldson

Director of Service: Taylor Long

Director of Events: Olivia MacKenzie

Sponsorship Director: Amy Ruddy

Director of Membership: Siobhan Taylor

Immediate Past President: Mark Mohammadpour, APR

Immediate Past President: Jill Peters, APR

Immediate Past President: Loralyn Spiro, APR

Annual Meeting

A brand new board of directors will be elected during our 2017 Annual Membership Meeting & Elections held on November 8th, via a webinar. In addition to the elections, current and incoming Chapter leadership will review 2017 highlights including the transition to a statewide chapter, 2018 priorities and hear elections results of the incoming board.

About PRSA Oregon:

The PRSA Oregon chapter, which serves approximately 300 public relations professionals in Oregon and Southwest Washington, supports lifelong professional development and honors excellence in public relations. More than one-fifth of chapter members have earned Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), the profession’s only national post-graduate certification program. The Oregon chapter is led by an all-volunteer board of professionals from across the state. Signature events include the annual Spotlight Awards, honoring excellence in public relations, and the Communicator’s Conference, a professional development event held once a year. The Oregon chapter of the Public Relations Society of America is one of 109 PRSA chapters across the country.

Final Transition Steering Committee Report: October

Finishing Strong

At our final Transition Steering Committee meeting for 2017, we took a few minutes to celebrate the momentum we’ve built. We’ve been so busy working on projects, that I think even we were surprised by everything that our newly formed regional chapter had accomplished when we reflected upon the year.

As the final report of year, let’s take some time to review the details of the journey, directly leading to the plans for next year. This will be a long post, but I think you’ll be reassured and reminded that we apply the same passion and process to running the chapter as we do to our profession.

One-Year Plan Turns Into Two

In March, we had gathered in the same conference room at Make-A-Wish to review all of the commitments and programs grandfathered in by the former chapters, along with all of the transition tasks, that needed to be considered in combining the three local chapters that had served Oregon and SW Washington for the last 60 years.  There were nearly 100.  

At the time, we determined we couldn’t pursue them all this year. We resolved to undertake the transition over two phases in two years and prioritized projects for 2017 that best set up the chapter for success and that would ultimately bring the most value to our members.

Phase One: Nearly Complete

Work on phase one projects is nearly complete.  As we wrap up in November, last steps are to:

  • Back up and redirect the former chapters’ websites to the new PRSA Oregon website;
  • Finalize an inventory of the chapter’s accounts and subscriptions;
  • Complete the updated Policies and Procedures document compilation;
  • Send out chapter pins to founding members who didn’t attend events where they were distributed (please email your address to membership@prsaoregon.org if you need your pin sent to you!);
  • Reconcile final expenses from the former chapters to complete for the final annual income statement and balance sheet of the chapter’s finances;
  • Hold an orientation in November of newly elected board members;
  • And, have a virtual annual membership meeting & elections in November so everyone can attend!
Phase Two in 2018

We’ve also clearly defined what needs to get done next year as part of phase two of the transition. We have a well-documented road map built off our 2017 action plan to share with the incoming board during orientation.

This plan will guide the newly formed Executive Committee that is taking over the transition management and comprises officers, assembly delegates, immediate past president, for 2018 the communications director as well.

This team will take over for the ad hoc Transition Steering Committee from 2017 and the Statewide Governance Committee in 2016 and hold a quarterly call to make decisions and measure progress.

The Transition Phase 2 action plan includes:

  • Strategic priorities summary
  • Proposed schedule and milestones
  • New organizational chart
  • New job descriptions
  • New manuals, along with volunteer and board training
  • Detailed activity and task recommendations
Phase Two: Big Projects

The Executive Committee will oversee six phase two projects in order to complete the smooth transition of three chapters into one chapter that’s built on operational and communications best practices.

The six big projects support the current strategic priorities:

Sustainable Systems

  • Integrated annual budget across programs to ensure cost effectiveness
  • Useful and ethical policies & procedures manual to steer volunteer-run operations
  • Revised bylaws approved by national to reflect the organizational and programming structure

Consummate Communications

  • Comprehensive marketing and communications plan that will include external and internal strategies, including considerations of how to deploy technology to unify members
  • Membership engagement survey to set a baseline for the chapter in 2018 and then enable regular feedback and measurement the “pulse of the membership”

Everybody Connects

  • New database tool for tracking membership engagement and relationship management
Changes, FAQ for 2018

The creation of next year’s priorities, projects and programs were all influenced by our Listening Tour where we learned ideas and input, plus heard concerns and barriers, directly from members.

We’ve integrated as much of our findings into the planning process as feasible for 2018, including these additional changes throughout the year.

January

With all 25 committee members committed, the Service team will provide volunteer orientations.

We will also host a virtual annual membership meeting.

Q: Why another annual meeting so soon?

A: Because currently our bylaws required an “annual meeting” hosted prior to Nov. 30 in order to elect a board, but the membership preferred an annual membership meeting as a “state of the union” to kick off the year. Once switched in 2018, then the next one will be January 2019. Elections will likely remain separate, administered remotely and electronically.

February

To reflect our broad geography, we will host quarterly, in-person board meetings around the region instead of monthly in-person board meetings.

Q: So the board will only meet 4 times?

A: Not quite. The Executive committee (comprising half the board) will meet quarterly and likely remotely,  the board will meet quarterly and in-person, and each of the six program committees (events, membership, service, advocacy, sponsorship, and communications) will meet quarterly and in-person ideally though perhaps more frequently via remote meetings, to make decisions and measure progress. That breaks down to about a monthly meeting and potential travel per board role, which seemed reasonable. Some will have more meetings if they also serve on a subcommittee.

April

We will start the nomination committee process earlier and hold the service draft in June to nominate board members, followed by the service draft in August to nominate committee members.

Q: Why start so soon in the year?

A: The nominating, recruitment and commitment process is a long one. So that board members can be elected prior to the PRSA International Conference, as and if amended in our bylaws, we need to start sooner than July like in the past.

 Phase You: Getting Involved

Throughout the year and during the Listening Tour, we’ve consistently heard how excited members are about the changes, process and progress. Our unofficial motto this year has been: “it takes a village.”

So, how can you help out next year?

  • Host a board meeting at your office
  • Suggest or introduce contacts at a destination venue for CommCon or Spotlights
  • Work with the events team to set up a tour at a local media outlet
  • Volunteer — one-time events, self service, currently open roles (check out our writer opening) or suggest something else!

Those are just a few starter ideas, we’d love to hear more. Please reach out to listening@prsaoregon.org.

Above And Beyond

Personally, I’m very proud of the Transition Steering Committee team:

BeverlyDaveDavid, ElisaJillLilyLoralynMaritzaMarkMeganSiobhan, TaylorTracey, and consultation from Colby and Brian – what we accomplished and the connections we made in the process with so many members around the region.

Instead of monthly conference calls, this team opted to meet in-person every month, offered up their offices to host (with AV and snacks!), and stayed well past the scheduled meeting time every month in order to plan effectively and execute comprehensively because, in their words’, “the work was just too important.”

We knew what an honor it was for the membership to entrust the Transition Steering Committee, in consultation with board, with the mission to smoothly integrate three chapters into one.

We feel confident that this founding year set a strong foundation for future leaders to meet the chapter’s and profession’s needs going forward. Vision 2020, here we come!

Yours in Service,
Julie

Julie Williams, APR, MA
2018 PRSA Oregon President-Elect
Transition Steering Committee Chair
Outreach Task Force Co-Chair

Meet the 2018 PRSA Oregon Leadership

2017 was an historic year of becoming PRSA Oregon – connecting with and understanding our community so that we can offer more robust programming and regional networking that best serves members across Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Representative Leaders with Geographic Diversity

In accordance with chapter bylaws the 20-person Nominating Committee assembled an outstanding slate of candidates from across the region to lead the future of PRSA Oregon.

This slate represents our members from all over the region, including Aloha, Beaverton, Corvallis, Eugene, Gearhart, Gresham, Lake Oswego, Portland, and Salem, various industries, including nonprofit organizations and foundations, healthcare, government, higher education and PR agencies, eight APRs, five past presidents and one Fellow PRSA, as well as members at every stage of their career from new to seasoned pros.  

Here is the leadership team who will steer PRSA Oregon throughout 2018 as we move from transition to transformation when elected by the chapter membership.

The objective of each role is listed after each position nominee and followed by a statement about what’s important to them next year.

Executive Committee

President & Executive Committee Chair (Officer) Brian Terrett, APR (Portland)

To successfully motivate and lead the PRSA Oregon Chapter and its Board of Directors in fulfilling its stated purpose: advancing the profession of public relations and strengthening and maintaining the highest standards of ethical conduct by all members.

“Somewhere in the state there are PR pros who feel completely isolated. What I want by the end of next year is I want them to feel supported and feel like they belong to a organization that can address whatever needs they have.”

Secretary/President-Elect & Nominating Committee Co-Chair (Officer) – See FAQ #2 below

To lead all internal operations of the Chapter in order to gather the insight and skills necessary to succeed to the office of President in the next fiscal year; and to keep records of Chapter materials, including a written record of all board meetings, chapter activities, board motions and policy decisions.

Interim Secretary (Officer) Tracey Lam, APR (East Portland)

To lead all internal operations of the Chapter; and to keep records of Chapter materials, including a written record of all board meetings, chapter activities, board motions and policy decisions.

“I’m excited to continue the work of the 2017 board and transition team to develop an even stronger and cohesive operation for our members.”

Treasurer (Officer) Siobhan Taylor (Lake Oswego)

To successfully forecast, budget and monitor the PRSA Oregon revenues and expenses to ensure that the chapter remains viable.

“The most important challenge I will have is being the wise steward our resources in the manner of our current Treasurer Dave Thompson. Dave’s done the heavy lifting, it will be my responsibility to ensure our continued accountability.”

Immediate Past President Colby Reade, APR (Aloha)

To serve as an informational resource to the chapter President and Board of Directors of the PRSA Portland Metro Chapter. The Past President is an ex-officio member of the Board. As Assembly Delegate, to interact with the PRSA Oregon Chapter Board of Directors regarding voting issues at the National Assembly and to make voting recommendations to the chapter Board.

“2017 was a monumental year for PRSA Oregon as we transitioned from three chapters to one. With the initial phase of our transition complete, 2018 will be a critical year. I look forward to helping the board cement new traditions, identify the most efficient ways to connect with members and provide whole new opportunities for professional development.”

Assembly Delegates

To provide leadership and support as well as guidance to the PRSA Oregon Chapter Board of Directors for operational decisions. Our delegate role also includes representation and making make voting recommendations regarding national governance issues at the PRSA Leadership Assembly.

Assembly Delegate #1 – Gail Dundas, APR (Gearhart)

“Having served PRSA as an Assembly Delegate many times in the past, I look forward to stepping back into the arena to ensure equal representation locally and nationally.”

Assembly Delegate #2 Dianne Danowski-Smith, APR, Fellow PRSA (Beaverton)

“Oregon’s PRSA presence is one of the strongest among PRSA chapters around the country. We’ll continue to provide strong and skilled leadership at the national level and strengthen our reputation as a key voice in local, regional and national governance.”

Assembly Delegate #3Julie Manning, APR (Corvallis)

“After 32 years in the profession and as a long-time member of PRSA, I would look forward to reflecting the views of our chapter as an Assembly delegate.”

 

2018 PRSA Oregon Board of Director Nominees

Click image to see in full screen for better legibility. Roles are also listed in order of display in Organizational Chart for easier navigation.

Directors-at-Large & Committee Chairs

Events DirectorVictoria Wagner (Portland)

To oversee planning of cost-effective and engaging chapter events that align with Chapter goals and strategic plans.

“I’m humbled by the opportunity to create events that will encourage participation from members statewide. My focus is overcoming the challenge of diverse locations and ensuring every member can participate and be involved.”

Membership DirectorSally Ridenour, APR (Salem)

To successfully lead the PRSA Oregon Chapter’s membership retention and growth through a focus on member services, recruitment and relationship building.

“I’m excited to get to know PRSA members, especially new members or soon-to-be new members across the state. With our new statewide chapter, this is a great opportunity to turn the old song ‘Make new friends and keep the old, one is silver and the other gold…’ into reality.”

Service Director & Nominating Committee Co-Chair Casey Boatman (Eugene)

To successfully staff the PRSA Oregon Chapter’s volunteer service needs through a focus on recruiting and retaining an engaged volunteer work force through meaningful service.

“I’ll use my Service Director role to encourage service with PRSA Oregon to talented PR and communication professionals over the next year. An engaged membership is key to the growth and success of our Chapter.”

Advocacy DirectorErin Merz, APR (Portland)

To contribute to public discourse on issues that affect the profession directly and those that impact free and open communications within our community.

“I’m excited to elevate PRSA Oregon’s aptitude for advocacy. In particular affirming our role as a trusted, valued resource and partner in the business community.”

Sponsorship Director Michael Lewellen, APR, ABC (Portland)

To assist the chapter President in all activities necessary to successfully lead the PRSA Oregon Chapter through a focus on attracting and retaining chapter sponsors.

“I look forward to connecting other organizations and corporations with our chapter’s vast network of members, along with the broader communications community, to find mutually beneficial ways to support awareness, resources and engagement.”

Communications DirectorJudy Asbury, APR (Portland)

To successfully lead the PRSA Oregon Chapter’s communication efforts to keep members, prospective members, community members, partners, sponsors, and the media informed of and engaged in Chapter activities and influence.  

“I am excited by our key challenge: to create a web of communications that keep PRSA members throughout the region informed, engaged and feeling part of the chapter, no matter where they live.”

 

2018 Slate FAQ

  1. How were these candidates selected?

The Nominating Committee was chaired by both President-Elect Julie Williams, APR, and Service Director Taylor Long to best utilize our volunteer talent. The 20-person Nominating Committee was composed of the entire 2017 board and eight members at large giving broader visibility to the process and casting a wider net.

We used a new process for the Nominating Committee this year to “draft” members, aligning the strengths and resources each member has to offer with roles that directly support their professional development goals. All nominees met the qualifications for the role per the job description. We drafted all chapter leadership nominees, as well as all committee roles, from our members talent pool, adding even more value to your membership.

  1. Why is the Secretary/President-Elect role vacant? Why are those roles combined now? And, when will there be a candidate for this position?

The Nominating Committee completed a rigorous search for this role including outreach to six members who were considered qualified candidates, none of which were able to serve at this time.

The roles were combined because the Secretary role has evolved to be point-person on chapter operations, which aligns perfectly to best prepare the President-Elect for the presidency. The two job functions can be completed without adverse effects on the chapter or significant increase in the amount of time required from the Officer. Read the full job description here.

We hope to finalize this role within the new year, so that the board can vote and elect this role per our bylaws as soon as possible. Due to the new status and broader scope of our organization, finding the right fit is critical. We are continuing to explore options and welcome candidates to apply. Until we have a candidate, Tracey Lam, APR, will serve as Interim Secretary, carrying on her 2017 role and transition efforts developing our Policies & Procedures.

  1. How can I vote?

As a member of PRSA Oregon, please cast your vote by completing the electronic ballot.

  1. When does voting end?

Voting will close on Nov. 7, 2017.

  1. When will the results be announced?

The elected slate will be announced on Nov. 8 at the 2017 Annual Membership Meeting & Elections, held virtually via webinar to ensure accessibility to all members. Register directly for the webinar here.

PRSA Oregon Leadership Announcement

As many of you know, 2017 has been an incredibly busy, but also very successful year. CommCon 2017 was very well received, we piloted several new programs to serve our members, membership is up Year Over Year and we have successfully completed our merger to be one, statewide chapter.

All of that being said, we do have one more significant transition to come: President-Elect Julie Williams has decided to step down from the 2018 presidency at the conclusion of her 2017 president-elect term, so we will be voting in a new nominee as President during the Nov. 8 elections. Julie provides some context around this decision below and announced this news recently live on Facebook. Watch the post from Oct. 13 on our Facebook page.

I want to personally thank you for your continued support of PRSA Oregon. If I can answer any questions or provide any additional clarity, please do not hesitate to reach out.

– Colby Reade, APR, 2017 President, president@prsaoregon.org

Note from Julie Williams, APR

As Colby notes, I will transition out of my role once the new board of directors is officially elected by the Annual Meeting & Elections on Nov. 8. This summer, I joined a small business accelerator program and started launching a new strategy retreat, amongst other products now in the works. As the business expands, I need to focus my passions there. Having to step back is a sad reality for me, though I am extremely confident about where our community is at and where it’s going. This year’s board and Transition Steering Committee has engaged members across the region and we have worked hard to set a strong foundation for the new, merged chapter. It was very clear during Leadership Rally in Boston last week that our chapter (and our district) continues to be a leader amongst our peer chapters with innovative models for engagement, service, and leadership. PRSA Oregon will continue to flourish next year – moving from transition to transformation – especially with our talented and well-trained volunteers who are coming on to lead in 2018. As an engaged member since 2010 and APR since 2014, I will continue to be one of our biggest fans! I hope you will join me in continuing to champion PRSA Oregon and support our new incoming president.

– Julie Williams, APR, 2017 President-Elect, president-elect@prsaoregon.org

Note from Brian Terrett, APR

When I arrived in Portland from Eugene in 2009, I was excited to get to know the members of the PRSA Portland Metro chapter. I joined the PRSA Greater Oregon chapter in 1997 and achieved my APR in 2001. I served in many roles on the chapter leadership team, which culminated with me having the honor of serving as chapter president. PRSA has been an important part of my professional life, providing me with an opportunity to grow my knowledge and skills and develop relationships with professionals around the country. I have been looking for a way to serve again, so when I was asked if I would serve as president of the newly formed statewide chapter, I quickly said yes. I am honored to help carry on the work of consolidation that began under the leadership of Mark, Colby and Julie. For those of you who don’t know me, I am currently the Director of Public & Community Relations for Legacy Health. Prior to this, I worked for PeaceHealth’s Oregon Region, US West and the City of Eugene. I have an MBA and a BA in Journalism. Again, I am honored to serve and look forward to meeting as many of you as possible over the common year.

– Brian S. Terrett, APR, 2018 President Nominee

Please Save-the-Date and join us online for our 2017 Virtual Annual Meeting & Elections on Nov. 8, 2017 at 6 p.m. PST via webinar. More information on registration and webinar access will be provided soon.

 

Transition Steering Committee Report: July-August

Building A Foundation For 2018

July and August were milestone months for PRSA Oregon’s transition to a regional chapter.

We launched a service draft to fill board and committee positions for 2018 after all members were invited to volunteer for a role. With this input, the Nominating Committee, including all current board members,  gathered and selected nominees starting in July.

Part two of the service draft will include all nominees for incoming board positions as additional Nominating Committee members, to weigh in and help build their teams. Our goal was to ensure next year’s leaders represent the chapter’s geographic diversity and that the new team has plenty of time for onboarding folks from all over.

This new system was prototyped by last year’s Service Committee and validated by  feedback from this year’s Listening Tour. Its benefits include leadership succession planning for the continued growth and sustainability of the merged chapter.

Also in July, the Transition Steering Committee published a full report on feedback from the Listening Tour and mailed a summary to all members in late August.

In creating the report, we saw that the Becoming PRSA Oregon Communications Plan, which included Listening Tour activities, can serve as a model for engaging membership and supporting organizational change in any chapter.

We continued the Listening Tour sessions in Portland in June and in Salem during the member welcome brunch in August. It was fun to reconnect with members and report out what we learned and how we’re adapting already. We also eagerly collected input on chapter programming for next year.

The discussion sessions have exceeded our expectations. It’s encouraging to see such a high level of engagement – exactly what our members agreed was needed moving forward. All members are welcome to join the final session, which will be part of the member brunch in Eugene on Sept. 16.

During the summer, headway was also made on updating policies and procedures and developing a draft code of conduct, along with starting planning for the chapter’s leadership elections in November (date still to be determined).

The transition from three chapters to one regional organization has been time consuming, but  rewarding. It has required the Board of Directors and volunteers to spend way less time on direct programming and way more time on setting up operational systems and best practices. Short-term trade-offs for long-term benefits.

At a recent meeting, I asked the team: “What has been most rewarding for you this year?”

Some of the responses:

  • Seeing new members and prospective members be welcomed.
  • Watching #BecomingPRSAOregon (the communications plan) unfold and be embraced by members and watching them really getting it —and feeling excited about it!
  • Seeing the enthusiasm from members and volunteers about the new service draft process.
  • Experiencing the overall enthusiasm and support for transition at statewide level.

Thanks for sticking with us during this transition time.

Yours in Service,

Julie

Julie Williams, APR, MA
2018 PRSA Oregon President-Elect
Transition Steering Committee Chair
Outreach Task Force Co-Chair
Nominating Committee Co-Chair

Listening Tour Report to Membership

Authors:  Elisa Williams, Julie Williams and Siobhan Taylor 

PRSA Oregon embarked on a Listening Tour in the spring of 2017 throughout Oregon and SW Washington to meet members and hear their input and concerns about the new, merged chapter. Listening Tour sessions were held in Bend, EugenePortland and Salem.

Here’s a recap of the report findings or read the full 2017 Listening Tour Report.

Founded in 2017, PRSA Oregon is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization and a local chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). As we become PRSA Oregon, merging membership from around the state with the majority from the former Greater Oregon chapter in Eugene, the former Oregon Capitol chapter in Salem and the former Portland Metro chapter, we are defining a new era for professional communicators in Oregon and SW Washington.

What Members Said

Several common threads emerged in all of the discussion sessions.

  • To ensure geographic diversity we need new or refined operational systems so that programming remains profitable and reaches all members. And, leadership distribution represents all of Oregon and SW Washington, including a robust pipeline of new leaders to aid in succession planning.
  • A larger, more diverse chapter makes enhanced professional development and networking possible, including a mix of local and regional events. To ensure these benefits, there must be a high level of membership and service engagement chapter-wide.
  • Connections are important. When face-to-face meetings aren’t possible, technology makes professional development opportunities and events accessible to members regardless of location. Using the latest high-touch tools keeps members’ skills current and leaders in communications.

How We’re Already Adapting

Feedback received led to several changes in 2017:

  • Spotlight Awards Ceremony will be held in Canby. The central location and timing more easily accommodates travel.
  • In July and September, a Service Draft is ensuring leadership and committee positions reflect the entire region.
  • Additional input on programming was collected this summer, as well as at the upcoming sessions on Aug. 12 and on Sept. 16.
  • Expansion of Meet the Media events is being explored to include media markets throughout the region if there is local volunteer support to host the event. Please email events@prsaoregon.org if you’d like to help set one up.

Share Your Ideas for the Future

Join us for the final Listening Tour sessions during the membership orientation at 10 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 12, at Willamette University, and at 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Valley River Inn, Eugene, Oregon.

For more information: Read the full 2017 Listening Tour Report or email listening@prsaoregon.org.

Transition Steering Committee Report: May

Author: Julie Williams, APR, MA

Big Accomplishments This Spring

Gathering with peers at the 2017 Communicators Conference was the perfect opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come since the PRSA Oregon Chapter was formed in January.

As participants checked in and collected their conference materials, current members received pins recognizing their status as founders of PRSA Oregon. By the time the opening keynote session launched, the ballroom was filled with members from throughout Oregon and SW Washington wearing their new pins.

At lunch, PRSA Oregon President Colby Reade, APR, shared highlights from the transition communications plan developed to support the chapter during this crucial foundational year. Here are a few high points from the plan that we’ve accomplished so far, thanks to the dedication of many volunteers:

• On May 3, PRSA Oregon launched its website. PRSA member and web strategist David (Kuo-Hsuan) Pan and Beverly Brooks, PRSA Oregon Director of Communications – as well as too many others to mention − deserve to take a deep bow. Going forward, you’ll also see our social media channels evolve to reflect new PRSA Oregon branding and messaging.

• The first phase of the Listening Tour, which included events in Eugene, Portland and Salem, wrapped up in April. We’re now starting the process of sharing the feedback we received.

Less visible than communications, but absolutely essential, members of the Transition Steering Committee have made impressive progress in unifying administration of the three chapters that merged to form PRSA Oregon. You name it, it needed to be dealt with and consolidated: taxes, budgets, contracts, storage rooms, membership lists, bylaws and procedures, logos, filings with PRSA National and on and on. On May 15, our treasurer, Dave Thompson, submitted 990 taxes for all three chapters.

We are so fortunate that the leadership and volunteers from the former PRSA chapters in Eugene, Portland and Salem have a long history of service and a depth of expertise so we can get operations as one unified chapter running smoothly.

Now we’re focused on getting a new team in place in the coming year. We’re calling upon many contributors to help us conduct a wide-scale draft to find a strong mix of PR pros to serve in leadership and committee roles in 2018. In our May Transition Steering Committee meeting, we reviewed each role in detail and took a step back to ensure we have a structure that best supports where we’re heading.

I’m really excited about the difference our service draft is going to make. In all, our organizational chart now includes more than 50 lead roles and 150 opportunities for self-directed service contributions. I’m so proud of what that says about the potential for engagement. We’ll share more about the draft as the process unfolds.

As founding members, we can all take pride in what we’ve been accomplished together so far. We couldn’t be better positioned for new growth!

Yours in Service,
Julie

Julie Williams, APR, MA
2018 PRSA Oregon President-Elect
Transition Steering Committee Chair
Outreach Task Force Co-Chair

Transition Steering Committee Report: April

Author: Julie Williams, APR, MA

Member Outreach Connects Statewide  

Wahoo, we’ve finished the official information gathering phase of the Listening Tour throughout the state! Overall, we had positive experiences in respective communities with genuine interest, honest input and creative ideas.

The tour featured discussion sessions in Eugene, Portland and Salem with some members traveling from as far away as Lincoln City (thank you!). Due to the high level of engagement from 50+ members in this process (60 people if you include PRSSA members), the Transition Steering Committee has a wealth of feedback and ideas to synthesize and inform future planning.

At our April 25 Transition Steering Committee meeting we broke into small groups to sift through all the information, including dozens of pages of notes. We looked at the input through many different lenses, including what had we heard before, what was news to us, what was actionable and what should be further researched.

Member input is already informing decisions and resetting priorities for this year and for 2018. The next step is to report out on the findings so the entire chapter benefits from the insights. We’ll get that process under way starting with a coffee session in Portland on June 20.

The tour was designed in tandem with the membership committee’s new member orientations, the first of which was held at ODOT on April 22 for 17 Portland/Vancouver/Beaverton area members and prospects. We’ll be reporting listening tour findings to attendees of orientation sessions in Eugene and Salem.

Originally, we were planning to host those in June and we’ve postponed them until August and September to work on electronic and printed versions of our findings so that all members have access, no matter their ability to attend the tour session. For more details, keep an eye on the events page, chapter blog and the chapter newsletter.

After enduring a challenging winter in the Pacific Northwest, coupled with the daunting reality of long to-do lists to get our merger off to a strong start, it is so gratifying to see how far we’ve come. Signs of growth and renewal are all around us  inspiring new beginnings and fresh starts!

Yours in Service,

Julie

Julie Williams, APR, MA

2018 PRSA Oregon President-Elect

Transition Steering Committee Chair

Outreach Task Force Co-Chair

We’re All Ears: PRSA Statewide Listening Tour Visits Salem

Author:  Elisa Williams

How the new statewide PRSA Oregon Chapter could help members develop professional connections was the focal point of discussions during morning and evening Listening Tour sessions in Salem. These Listening Tour events, held at Willamette University in Salem on April 18 and 19, attracted members from Salem, Stayton and Lincoln City, in addition to including five past presidents of the former Oregon Capital Chapter.

Listening Tour hostesses Siobhan Taylor, PRSA Oregon membership director, and Julie Williams, APR, the chapter’s president-elect, shared their notes and experiences to ensure everybody is in the loop on how the conversation about the newly formed statewide chapter is developing.

The PRSA Oregon Chapter Transition Steering Committee launched the Listening Tour in March to give members a forum for sharing ideas and vetting concerns following the merger of the Portland-, Salem- and Eugene-area chapters in January 2017. Earlier Listening Tour sessions were held in Portland and in Eugene this spring.

Each of the Listening Tour sessions covered new ground, but also brought fresh perspectives to issues raised by members in other parts of the state.

Several themes emerged during the Salem discussions:

  • More connections, stronger network: Now that the chapter encompasses the entire state of Oregon as well as SW Washington, the potential for building new contacts through PRSA has expanded and that presents a new opportunity that members can leverage. Participants said they could take advantage of this benefit with something as simple as having access to a member list that makes it easy to reach out to a peer in another city or can be as deep as giving a member access to one-on-one mentoring with a seasoned pro.
  • High touch and high tech: Members’ discussed the need for technology to increase networking opportunities and to make it possible for members to virtually attend events that aren’t in their local communities. Specific ideas included past president Nicole Miller’s suggestion that PRSA Oregon consider adding a technology chair and past president Sherryll Hoar emphasized the need for helping members master new technical skills.
  • Actionable value: Participants in Salem said that if they need to travel for a chapter event in the future, they want to have a say in the timing and location. The event also has to deliver a concrete value for their careers. “It all comes back to usage of your time,” said Eric Johnson, who is willing to travel from his Lincoln City office for a PRSA Oregon event if it is relevant to his work. He drove for hours to attend a Meet the Media event where he was able to pitch a reporter who covered business on the Oregon Coast for the Portland Business Journal. “If I didn’t get any contacts out of it, or meet anyone, it wouldn’t be a good use of my time.”

With this first round of tour stops complete, the Transition Steering Committee has heard from 50 members (60 people if PRSSA members and students are included) or about 20 percent of membership. In May, the Transition Steering Committee compiled all of the tour findings into a report which will be shared in future PRSA meetings. The tour continues in June to do follow-up visits, as promised.

To ensure the tour is successful, the goal is to attract a strong showing of Portland-area members to a coffee meeting planned for June 20 where the tour findings will be discussed and participants will be asked to engage in program planning for 2018. The tour will also return to Salem and Eugene. For details on those three events, keep an eye on the events calendar in the chapter’s new website.

While the in-person, information-gathering portion of the tour is over, it’s not too late for members to share what’s on their minds. The Listening Tour’s goal was to launch what will be ongoing discussions on how PRSA Oregon can best meet members’ needs. Members can continue to share ideas and feedback by sending an email to with listening@prsaoregon.org.